Hamas members' residency revoked

Decision comes in wake of arrest raid and expiration of deadline to quit Hamas.

June 30, 2006 11:07
abu tir and hamas j'lem guys MPs 298

abu tir and hamas MPs298. (photo credit: AP)

Interior Minister Roni Bar-On on Friday decided on Friday to revoke the permanent residence status of four Hamas parliamentarians, including the Palestinian Authority's Jerusalem Affairs minister. The four, Muhammad Abu Tir, Ahmed Abu Atoun, Khaled Abu Arafa and Mahmoud Totach, were all warned of the impending decision in May, when they were told that their Jerusalem residency would be revoked unless they resigned from Hamas within 30 days. The four were all arrested on Thursday morning during a massive IDF raid in which over 60 Hamas officials were detained. As a result of the move, they will forfeit National Insurance Institute benefits and access to Israel's health and education services, an Interior Ministry spokeswoman said when the threat of revocation was first made. She said their official status would be that of foreigners, meaning they would need to receive visas to stay legally in the country. If those aren't granted, they can be removed for being in the city illegally. The decision was first made after the suicide bombing at a shwarma restaurant in Tel Aviv, where 11 people were killed. Islamic Jihad carried out the attack, but Hamas leaders justified it as a legitimate response to Israeli aggression.

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